‘Fraidy Cat Confessions is moving!

Hello again, faithful confessers! It’s been a long time since I posted an affirmation, and I’m sorry for the lag. But I want to let you all know that I’ve moved ‘Fraidy Cat Confessions to a dedicated website. I’m still feeling my way around – HTML is not yet my friend – so I ask your patience with the changing layout. But the content is the same!

Please go sign up for new posts and encouragement to live outside of fear. Leave comments, prayer requests, and confessions at shelleyring.com. I look forward to seeing you there!

Keep confessing the truth!

He anoints my head with oil, my cup overflows

When I was a little girl, my grandma taught me the Lord’s Prayer. “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name…” We used to say it together before bed when my sister and I spent the night.

Those formal words from the King James version still bring me comfort and peace.

Many years later, 20 weeks pregnant with my youngest child, I began memorizing Psalm 23. I needed an extra avenue for comfort and peace. Together, they served me well in very trying times, and I meditate on Psalm 23 almost every day now. One of the things I love most is its all-encompassing nature. It truly tells of God’s sovereignty, love, power, protection, and generosity.

As we move into the future, I know more than ever that I must rely on the Lord for my every need. When I am hungry, He provides. When I am afraid, He strengthens. When I am hurting, He comforts. When I am confused, lost, or overwhelmed, He restores.

And when I trust Him, He anoints my head with oil, and my cup overflows. So today’s confession is a reminder to trust Him with everything.

He anoints my head with oil. My cup overflows.

Oil in the Bible is often symbolic of the Holy Spirit. Power, peace, and protection. This line gives me a visual of tipping my head back and allowing Him to pour thick, amber colored oil over my head. It seeps down to my skin and saturates me. It affects everything I do and think. Just as the Holy Spirit should affect me.

When I move in this anointing, I don’t have room to fear. I view people and life through His filter. The world is not a frightening place. Instead every interaction becomes an opportunity to point back to Him. I will confess this today and I will live in His power, peace, and protection.

What is your favorite part of Psalm 23?

The Lord my God is a merciful God

Mighty. Merciful. Majestic. Miracles. Music. Mountains. Messiah.

Tonight, my husband and I enter sleepless night forty-two with the littlest little. I’m exaggerating, but only because I lost count how many nights we’ve been up. I pray for God to perform a mighty miracle and be a supernatural tranquilizer for her. (As I write this, it’s after 10PM and she’s delaying sleep by giving me another ‘M’ word I could be thankful for. “Here, Mom. I have a message for you.” So far she’s given me five messages. Pretend slips of paper that she pushes into my hand with a knowing, but sincere, smile. Maybe the Lord will speak to her and she will be His voice, giving messages to people all over as she grows. Yeah. I’m tired. Work with me.) Joshua 24:17: “For the LORD our God is the one who rescued us and our ancestors from slavery in the land of Egypt. He performed mighty miracles before our very eyes. As we traveled through the wilderness among our enemies, he preserved us.”

I believe in miracles. I do. It’s just been a long time since I saw one in the form of my children sleeping peacefully all night.

I know we’re not alone in our struggles. Not just that God carries us, but that others walk through so many hardships – and many that are much more devastating than mine. I can’t forget the heart-wrenching sorrow of a friend who can only wish her son was still alive to keep her awake at night. When I think of all those who have pain far deeper than mine, I pray for God’s mercy to be upon them, for His majesty to surround them, and for the Messiah to be present with them. I pray that He would move mountains and reveal Himself.

In light of that, today’s confession calls on the mercy of God. Deuteronomy 4:31: “For the LORD your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon you or destroy you or forget the solemn covenant he made with your ancestors.”

The Lord my God is a merciful God.

There are times it feels like this world will destroy me. I know people think they’ve been abandoned by God, that He forgot His promises. If that’s you tonight, please know what the Bible, His Holy word, says. He is merciful. He will not abandon you or destroy you or forget His promises. Confess the truth and rest. The Lord my God is a merciful God.

Do you feel abandoned, destroyed, or forgotten?

The Lord speaks to me

As with every other confession in the alphabet, I could post one truth after another using ‘L’:

  • Lord of lords (Deuteronomy 10:17)
  • Love (1 Corinthians 13)
  • Lasting (Psalm 19:9)
  • Lion of the tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5)
  • Life (John 14:6)
  • Light (Psalm 27:1)

But in considering today’s confession, I came across a blog post by Bird Martin that resonated with me. The reason goes back to the message my pastor gave in church on Sunday. In short, he encouraged us all to confess to someone we trust all of our addictions, issues, holdups. Anything that puts up a wall between us and Jesus. I cringed, having dealt quietly with something for several days.

Okay, I’ve been dealing with it for years. But quietly. I don’t go around advertising it. No, it’s not fear, though Bird’s prayer at the end of her post mentions doubt and fear. But my problem might well be the root issue to this fear. So (breathing, praying, breathing), here’s the advertisement:

I’m a terribly proud, vain person. Don’t judge me, please. Just hear me out, and see how today’s confession and Bird’s post relates.

It’s entirely possible that my fear issues stem from my pride. I don’t want to be found lacking, so I puff myself up and convince myself that I don’t need anyone’s approval. I’m a good writer. (Actually, as long as I’m airing my pride here, I’ll go ahead and say I’m a fabulous writer.) I’m a decent mom. GREAT housekeeper and cook. My list of highly rated qualities goes on and on. Of course, it wouldn’t do to have everyone know that I have a pride issue, so I pretend I’m humble. Isn’t that the good Christian thing to appear?

God is so good to continue speaking to me in spite of my arrogance. What He spoke today comes from Job 38. The first line nails me: “Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind.”

In the whirlwind of my pride and conceit, God answers me. So today’s confession reminds me:

The Lord speaks to me.

The rest of Job 38 tells of God challenging a suffering, yet arrogant, Job. It goes through all that God has done and the endless depth of His knowledge and wisdom. I’m marking this section of Scripture and reading it every day. And in the reading, I will give thanks that the Lord speaks to me.

What is the Lord speaking to you?

He will fill me with shouts of joy

I saw a news report recently that said people who get fewer than 5.5 hours of sleep a night have higher health risks than the average population. I told my husband that any new mom could have told the researchers that and saved the public tens of thousands of dollars on the study. Not only do sleep deprived people have more risk for diabetes, heart disease, depression, and a host of other health conditions, they become a risk to anyone who irritates them. Fair warning, people.

My littles aren’t “new” anymore, but they still don’t sleep as much as I’d like. Even if they did, I’d have to spend some of those precious quiet moments taking care of things that get pushed to the side when they’re awake. Praying, reading, writing, editing, cleaning, planning. Thinking. With so much going on, it’s hard for me to fully appreciate the joys God gives me. Good for me that God’s promises don’t have an expiration date.

Today’s confession gives me peace, and it comes from an unlikely place. Most of us don’t look to Job in the Old Testament when we want promises of joy. But it’s there in a few ways. Job 8:21 is a response where Bildad the Shuhite tells Job, “He will once again fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.”

Er, perhaps not the best response to a man who has just heard of the loss of all his earthly possessions and the deaths of his children. I’m sure Bildad meant well, but he might as well have opened his mouth and put his foot in it. Deeply. Still, if you read the story through to the end, you’ll see that God did restore Job in full. In fact, he gave his servant even more blessing in the second half of his life than in the first.

He will fill me with shouts of joy.

Shouts of joy. Not shouts of irritation or impatience. Sometimes, I’m as quick to let loose with one as with the other. As I fight to keep my eyes open and my tone gentle in these sleep-deprived days, I confess this truth. He will fill me with shouts of joy. I’m not the only one to benefit from this promise. My whole family will recognize the change and the glory will go to God.

Are you shouting with joy or impatience these days?

Names of Jesus reposted from Chief of the Least

Hey, gang. I’m taking today to repost something from fellow blogger Bryan Daniels at Chief of the Least. It fits well with our affirmations, and I love that Bryan included the Scripture reference for each name.

Take a few minutes today to look up some of these verses, then confess the truth out loud. And check out Chief of the Least for more fantastic insights.

AND HE SHALL BE CALLED:

God (Hebrews 1:8)

Son of God (John 1:34)

Wonderful Counselor (Isaiah 9:6)

Immanuel (Matthew 1:23)

Lord of Glory (1 Cor 2:8)

I AM (John 8:58)

Savior (2 Peter 1:1)

Creator of all things (Colossians 1:16)

Upholder of all things (Hebrews 1:3)

Alpha and Omega (Revelation 1:8)

The Word (John 1:1)

The Image of the Invisible God (Col 1:15)

The Brightness of God’s glory (Hebrew 1:15)

The Wisdom and Power of God (1 Cor 1:24)

The Lord from Heaven (1 Cor 15:47)

Son of Man (Mark 10:33)

The Great Prophet (Luke 7:16)

The Great Apostle (Hebrews 2:1)

Righteous Servant (Isaiah 53:11)

Messiah (John 4:25)

Anointed (Psalm 2:2)

Lamb Of God (John 1:29)

The Bridegroom (Matt 9:15)

Jehovah’s Shepherd (Zechariah 13:7)

The Door of the Sheep (John 10:7)

Branch of the Lord (Isaiah 4:2)

True Vine (John 15:1)

Tree of Life (Rev 2:7)

Bread of God (John 6:33)

Light of the world (John 8:12)

Sun of Righteousness (Mal 4:2)

Horn of Salvation (Luke1:69)

The Rock (1 Cor 10:4)

The Foundation (1 Cor 3:11)

The Temple (Rev 21:22)

The Altar (Heb 13:10)

Great High Priest (Heb 4:14)

Mediator (1 Tim 2:5)

Intercessor (Hebrews 7:25)

The Resurrection (John 11:25)

Last Adam (1 Cor 15:45)

Holy One (Acts 2:27)

Captain of Salvation (Hebrews 2:10)

Author and Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2)

Righteous Judge (2 Tim 4:8)

King of Kings (Revelation 17:14)

Lord of Lords (Revelation 17:14)

The Way, The Truth and The Life (John 14:6)

Jesus Christ

Does one of Jesus’ names speak more to you than the others? Why?

Nothing is impossible with God

The last two weeks have been an interesting time in my house. For the first time ever, I’ve battled panic attacks that threaten to lay me flat on the floor, gasping for air, sure my heart is going to come to a dead stop. Or I’ve nearly climbed the walls with anxiety that sends adrenaline soaring and blood screaming through my veins. The only thing that keeps me from showing this panic to my children is reciting Psalm 23. I’ve also watched my four-year-old son scream, unable to catch his breath, and almost throw up in fear. I have no idea what he’s afraid of, but it seems to control almost every move.

I make light of my own panic because there’s really no reason for it. (Not that the realization stops my fear, but it is true. Forget what seems to be real; the truth is that I have not been given a spirit of fear. Realizing it and confessing it is the first step to making it real for me.) But seeing it in my child is a different matter. Fear – and overcoming it – is hard enough inside my own head. How do I teach my son to recognize the truth and fight against the fear?

The only way I know is to speak the truth over him, over our entire family. We move forward with normal activities, and if I have to leave him with a Sunday school teacher or a Bible study teacher, I pray and trust God to take care of him. Doing this, I’ve seen the fear we both experience recede. I love today’s confession (the ‘I’ in our alphabet of confessions) because it speaks to the myriad of reasons I battle breathtaking fear.

Nothing is impossible with God.

Do you really believe this? We serve the God of the impossible. What are your dreams or goals? What are your wildest prayers? Here are a few of mine, and what I think of when I pray them.

Establish a successful storytelling career? Impossible.

Raise happy, healthy, Jesus-loving children in a world of pride, excess, and indulgence? Impossible.

Banish all forms of fear, and embrace the future and the hope He plans for me? Impossible.

But nothing is impossible with God. Luke 1:37 says so. For that reason, I’ll continue confessing the truth over myself and my family. My God will make a way, and the impossible will become possible. Beyond that, the possible will become achievable. Nothing is impossible with God.

What impossible things have you seen God do lately?

God’s hand will guide me

Happy Good Friday, peeps. I figured a day that starts with ‘G’ is a good day to post an affirmation starting with ‘G’. As always, there are tons of things we could confess about God today. His goodness, greatness, graciousness, generosity. I challenge you to look up some of those things in your Bible and find the Scriptures that support them.

One of the most important things to me is God’s ability and desire to guide us. This life is about a relationship with Him, and that includes listening and obeying. I often feel like I don’t hear Him, but He’s so creative and knows each of His children so well that I have to trust He’ll get through to me. His hand will guide me even when I don’t know I’m following it. Even when the way seems dark, difficult, and riddled with thorns, as it has lately. So today’s confession speaks to that truth.

God’s hand will guide me.

Psalm 139 says it so well.

O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me.

You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.

You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do.

You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord.

You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!

I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence!

If I go up to to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there.

If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans,

even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me.

These are verses 1-10, and if you have time to read the entire Psalm 139, I encourage you to do it. It’s encouraging, comforting, affirming, and convicting. And in the midst of reading it, in the midst of your day, confess the truth. God’s hand will guide me. I’ll be saying it loud and often! Then I’ll trust that He does.

Have a blessed Good Friday, and a joyful Easter. He is risen!

Where is God’s hand guiding you?

His faithful love endures forever

Someone asked me this weekend if I could find the word ‘unconditional’ in the Bible. As in, God’s love is unconditional. Salvation is unconditional. Mercy and grace are unconditional. Of course I can find it! It’s everywhere, I said. And then I went to my Bible and tried to find it.

…Looking, looking. (You may begin humming the tune from Jeopardy as I search.)

Well, so it’s not everywhere. Actually, I couldn’t find the word ‘unconditional’ anywhere. But that’s okay. The Bible doesn’t have the word ‘trinity’ in it, either. Or ‘rapture.’ But that doesn’t make those concepts any less true or relevant. God’s unconditional love is defined and demonstrated through the lives of people in Scripture:

Abraham, who tried to rush God’s covenant blessing with Hagar.

Sarah, who laughed in disbelief when she heard the covenant blessing.

Jacob, who lied about his identity and essentially stole the birthright from his older brother.

David and Bathsheba, who committed adultery and then tried to cover it up with murder.

God’s love and blessing stayed with these people (with me!) in spite of bad decisions and faithlessness. Jesus’ life and death is proof of unconditional love, and these examples speak to my heart when I fear I’ve messed up so badly He must turn His face in shame. In 1 Chronicles 16, King David teaches the priests and the people to sing, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever.” Remembering this truth also gives me strength to keep going when I’m so tired I can only imagine falling face-first in the dirt and passing out for days.

His faithful love endures forever.

When I remember all He has done for me and the power that lives inside me, I feel compelled to get up out of the dirt and take another step. Praying for direction with each footfall, I take another step. And without realizing it, His faithful love has guided me through the fear and doubt. I rest safely on the other side, encouraging others with the truth. His faithful love endures forever.

What does His faithfulness help you accomplish?